Is the man who plays Victor on The Young & the Restless the same person who played a German tank commander on a TV show in the 1960s but under a different name?
—Bill Bothe, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Yes. Eric Braeden from The Young and the Restless and Hans Gudegast from The Rat Patrol are the same actor. Gudegast is Braeden’s birth name, which he was asked to change to further his acting career.
“I starred in a film in 1969 called Colossus: The Forbin Project, and Lew Wasserman, the head of Universal Studios, said he would love me for the part but that I would have to change my name, and that no one with a German name would star in American picture,” explains the 70-year-old Bredenbek, Germany-born actor.
For the past 32 years, Braeden has played Victor Newman on The Young and the Restless, which celebrated its 39th anniversary in March 2012.
In addition to appearing on TV’s No. 1-rated daytime drama, Braeden has also starred in one of the top-grossing films of all time, Titanic, which will be re-released in theaters in 3D April 6. “I didn’t want to do it at all,” he says of his role as John Jacob Astor IV. “My wife and my son talked me into it because of [director] James Cameron. Contractually, I was bound to Y&R, meaning I couldn’t do certain scenes because I had to be back here to do Y&R, so I drove at 1 or 2 in the morning to be back here at 7 a.m.”